EU rejects visa-free corridors for Kaliningrad citizens

The European Union will not accept Russia’s suggestion to create visa-free corridors through Lithuania and Poland for citizens of the Kaliningrad region to visit Russia. This was announced by EU Commissioner for enlargement Gunter Verheugen during his visit to Vilnus.

“I am perfectly sure that transit corridors are instruments of the past, not our future. They disagree with the idea of the creation of a united Europe,” Gunter Verheugen told the Lithuania parliament. It was pointed out at that such suggestions disagree with the EU legislation; moreover they are not welcomed by Poland and Lithuania. In his words, “the European Union will never negotiate any issues concerning sovereign rights of Poland and Lithuania for their territories.”

At the same time, Gunter Verheugen said that EU expansion will help the Kaliningrad region revive its economy and settle many problems. It was specially stressed that the EU does not aim to isolate Kaliningrad, because such isolation would be unfavorable for none of the parties.

According to the Shengen Treaty, Lithuania and Poland are to repeal visa privileges for citizens of the Kaliningrad region by the middle of 2003. After Lithuania's incorporation into the European Union, its boundaries with Belarus and Russia’s Kaliningrad region are to become the EU's outer boundary. Nastya Primakova PRAVDA.Ru

Translated by Maria Gousseva

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